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PinnacleHealth System and Penn State Hershey to explore enhanced relationship

Penn State Hershey and PinnacleHealth have entered into formal discussions to broaden their existing strategic relationship. The goals of the potential relationship are to improve access to care and increase the quality and breadth of health care services available to people throughout central Pennsylvania. Any collaboration would also strengthen the teaching and research missions of both organizations.

The two organizations are in the process of selecting an independent third-party firm to help explore potential opportunities for the two health care organizations to expand their relationship.

Currently PinnacleHealth and Penn State Hershey collaborate in a number of ways. Both are joint venture partners in the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute. Founded in 2008, the Institute comprises a 74-bed teaching and research hospital and three outpatient practices that provide specialized mental health services to pediatric, adolescent, adult and geriatric patients.

For more than 10 years, PinnacleHealth hospitals have served as a training site for Penn State Hershey residents, fellows and medical students in clinical specialties such as family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and others. In addition, PinnacleHealth residents complete elective rotations at Penn State Hershey in several medical disciplines. Given the success of this collaboration, an affiliation agreement between the two organizations was signed in 2010 to further expand this academic partnership.

Both organizations are part owners of Horizon Healthcare Services, a home infusion agency, and worked together on a joint community health needs assessment in 2012 to better understand health disparities and opportunities to improve the health and wellness of the region's residents.

“Over the past several years, PinnacleHealth and Penn State Hershey have worked together successfully to bring vital health care services to residents of central Pennsylvania and to develop a new generation of health care professionals,” said Harold L. Paz, MD, CEO of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Health System, Penn State's senior vice president for health affairs, and dean, Penn State College of Medicine. “Given our past success in working together, it makes sense for us to explore additional opportunities. Our focus will remain on how we can enhance the quality and availability of primary and specialty care across central Pennsylvania, build on our collective ability to improve the health of our communities, and contribute to the discovery of new and better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat disease.”

“Health care is changing at a rapid pace and health systems have a responsibility to focus on the best way to improve access, cost and quality of care available to those they serve,” said Michael A. Young, FACHE, president and CEO of PinnacleHealth. “PinnacleHealth and Penn State Hershey are vibrant health systems offering a broad spectrum of health care services, technologies, research capabilities and facilities. I believe that these two health systems bring complementary strengths to the goals of improving the health status of the population we serve and in delivering more cost effective, high quality and accessible health care services to the region.”

The evaluation process is expected to be complete by the end of March 2014.

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